Lady Lions Fall in Big Ten Tourney Final
The Ohio State women’s basketball team obviously had a good scouting report. A night after Penn State’s Maggie Lucas and Julia Trogele combined for 43 points, Ohio State held them to just nine in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game.
The Lady Lions fell 84-70 to the Buckeyes on Sunday in their quest for a first Big Ten Tournament title since 1996. Ohio State used an efficient offense, a plus-7 rebounding margin and solid defense to stymie Penn State’s chances.
Penn State started off strong, and Zhaque Gray put them ahead 12-8 with a 3-pointer with 15:59 left in the first half. Ohio State scored the next nine points, however, to take a five-point lead. Alex Bentley had a great first half with 12 points, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit. Ohio State held Lucas to just four points and kept Trogele off the score sheet as they went into the half up 44-39.
Trogele scored her only point of the game on a free throw to start the second half, but Ohio State countered with a three-point play and a 3-pointer to take a nine-point lead. Mia Nickson established herself in the second half, scoring 13 points, but the Lady Lions shot only 32.5 percent from the field and could not make a comeback. Ohio State center Jantel Lavender and point guard Samantha Prahalis were too much to handle for the Penn State defense as the Buckeyes rolled to an 84-70 victory.
Nickson finished with 17 points, Bentley had 16, and Gray added 13. Lucas and Trogele were held to a combined 9 points on 1-16 shooting. For Ohio State, Lavender had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, while Prahalis had 23 points and nine assists. Ohio State’s Tayler Hill was also a thorn in Penn State’s side, scoring 17 points on 50 percent shooting.
Penn State falls to 24-9 on the season and now awaits the NCAA Tournament draw, which will be held on March 14. In the latest projections, Penn State is listed as a five-seed, and the Lady Lions are all but guaranteed to host the first two rounds of the tournament. One thing is certain–Lucas and Trogele will need to get their acts together if Penn State is to win come tournament time.